Back in November of last year, Sewol ferry captain Lee Joon Seok got 36 years in prison for negligence but dodged homicide charges. The appeals court disagreed with the original ruling and convicted him of homicide, thus increasing his sentence to life in prison.
Lee’s sentence was increased because the Gwangju High Court additionally convicted him on the homicide charges while upholding most of other charges that led to his November conviction, according to a court statement.
The court said it decided on Lee’s homicide conviction because he fled the ship without making any evacuation order though he, as a captain, is required by law to take some measures to rescue his passengers.
Lee’s behavior was “homicide by willful negligence,” the court judged. “For whatever excuses, it’s difficult to forgive Lee Joon-seok’s action that caused a big tragedy,” the court statement cited the verdict as saying.
14 other crew members were sentenced to 1.5 years to 12 years in prison, down from 5 years and 30 years from before.